THIS POSTING’S DEDICATED TO ANYONE WHO THINKS THEY’RE STUCK BEING FAT. It’s not all hand-holding and gentle. I cut through the bullshit. You want your reality check? Start here. Oh, and I’m not selling a fuckin’ thing. I’m just trying to help you do what I’ve done, because it’s WORTH it.
I get a lot of people asking me how I lost my weight. Like there’s some magical store you can walk into, point, and say, “I know, I’ll do it THAT way.”
After a lifetime of being fat, trying shit, and finally figuring it out, you know what I think? There’s only one way to lose weight.
Know what the secret ingredients are? Math. Honesty. Consistency.
You cannot, will not, lose weight in any meaningful way until you understand food value. And I don’t give a fuck if “Weight Watchers is working” for you, because a “points value” system doesn’t teach you accountability in a real way, or even in an accurate way. One needs to know what a tablespoon of butter or oil does. One needs to learn the secrets of nutrition.
The so-called “secret” of weight-loss is simple: Every fucking thing counts in every single way.
Every bit of exercise. Every MORSEL you eat. Whether it’s a 5-calorie stick of gum, putting 100 calories of cream in your coffee. Every bit counts.
Take your “treat” latte, for instance. That one little 160-calorie grand latte adds — wait for it — 4,800 calories to your month if you have it 30 times. Nearly 3,500 over the course of just your monthly workdays. Put a shot or two of syrup in there and the number goes through the roof.
To lose one pound off your body, how many calories do you need to burn? 3,500. You getting this? Numbers, man. SCIENCE. A system! A way to win!
What does this mean, very simply? You can outthink fat. You can outplan fat. You can make fat your bitch, baby.
You may “dislike” the idea of “calorie-counting” and want to find “some other way”, but the reality is, THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. If you’re talking about THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, you cannot be successful longterm without knowing EXACTLY what you’re eating EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Why I say Weight Watchers and ones similar to that don’t work longterm is, you can take two slices of banana bread, one homemade and one from Starbucks. According to something like Weight Watchers, they’re pretty similar in what they contribute to your day. And that’d be WRONG. Profoundly!
Homemade banana bread, you’re looking at 150-250 calories a slice with maybe 8 grams fat, depending how you prepare it (ie 230 calories in my recipe that uses butter and real sugar, but make it with Splenda and everything changes). From, say Starbucks, you’re looking at 400 calories and 12 grams of fat. Do those sound “equal” to you? To me, it sounds like I’m getting 35-50% more calories and fat in the commercial banana bread, aren’t I? Well, THAT’S not good, is it?
Unfortunately, when you eat on a “points system”, those are the kind of blind misjudgments that occur.
You can’t FAKE your body out. You can’t say, “Oh, I’ll have one more pat of butter” and pretend it’s not doing something to you. Because it is. Your body looks at it and goes, “Oh, butter, I know, I’ll put that over here, WITH THE FAT.”
Speaking of fat contents, you can’t have a meal in a restaurant and expect the calorie count to be anywhere NEAR what it’d be under your own watchful eye in your kitchen. (They’re a restaurant! They want it delicious. Know where the best flavour comes from? From fat. Figure it out. Eat at home! Or find a way to order better.)
EVERY BIT COUNTS.
You walked to the store tonight and spent 20 minutes doing that to get your groceries? That’s maybe 100-150 calories you burned. That counts too! So does doing “arm curls” with your grocery bags as you walk home, and stuff like that. Everything counts!
Where do you start? Accountability. You need your basal metabolic rate. That takes your age, height, weight, and lifestyle into account, and gives you YOUR base calories a day, and that’s the amount of calories you’ll burn by just waking up and breathing in a given day — with no exercise, nada. Your exercise and diet are then dependent on THAT number.
For me, it’s about 1,800 calories a day. So, if I eat 1,800 calories every day, I’ll maintain my weight. If I walk for maybe 30 brisk minutes a day at about 150 calories burned, well, that’s about 1,000 calories I’d burn in a week. In a month, well, that’s about 4,000 calories, or 1+ pounds I should lose. Right? Math.
If I change that walking to a higher-impact cardio that will burn more calories in shorter time, then everything changes. Take 30 minutes of moderate cycling, for my weight and height, I’m burning about 400 calories. Well, now it’s getting up to more than 12,000 calories burned in a month, with just 200 minutes a week. That’s nearly 4 pounds a month — and without cutting diet at ALL. Me, I’d prefer to exercise more because I want power, strength, and fitness, rather than cutting my calories too low, and I pretty much eat near 1,800 calories a day yet lose weight.
So, it’s math. It’s 150% math. It’s not willpower, it’s not guesswork, because once you KNOW what you are eating, you’ll never look at things the same again.
For most folk, it’s their ignorance that’s their bliss — AND their fat ass.
I started simply by signing up for a free FitDay.com account. I plugged all my numbers in for my BMR (that base metabolic rate) and started plugging in some of what I was eating every day, just so I’d be able to flip my brain on and become literally aware of what I was shovelling into me. The reality is, before my lifestyle change, I was eating more than 3,000 calories a day because I had NO IDEA what I was doing.
Losing weight requires you to stop bullshitting yourself.
Then it requires you to accept that EVERY thing you do in your life affects your life.
And then it needs you need to learn that 80% of your weightloss/gain is a result of what you’re eating, not what you’re doing/not doing.
Stop kidding yourself. You’re not SPECIAL. You’re not the “exception” to weightloss. It’s not “different” for you. You’re not unlucky or some fatty-defect person. It’s S-C-I-E-N-C-E. It’s the SAME for all of us.
You’re just not being ACCOUNTABLE. You’re not being honest. You’re not being real.
I know because I spent my lifetime living that lie and figured it out at 34. Here’s hoping you do it sooner.
Burn more than you store. That’s it. And you can do it making choices for food that you still love, provided you know how to balance it into your day. You make choices based on what YOU value, what makes you feel like you’re enjoying more out of your life.
With knowledge, you too will make choices that fit your life and that don’t punish you as much as you think.
Know. Then do. And you’ll find success. It’s really that simple.
A FEW LITTLE THINGS:
1. I eat cheese, burgers, chocolate, you name it — but I do it in a way that works in the scope of my food week. I’m accountable. Things need to balance in a day. You CAN enjoy the things you’ve always loved, but you need to make choices, and something’s got to give. Believe me, the rewards are worth the suffering through the math. Believe me, baby. I’m 70 pounds down. I know.
2. I keep weights by my TV, and I’ll lift weights while I watch and do plyometrics. That probably will take 200-300 calories off me on any given TV-watching night. But that can add up to between 5,000 and 10,000 calories a month I’m burning — by watching television. Because IT ALL ADDS UP. 🙂
3. By making choices, knowing food values, and understanding what those choices mean for YOU, you can, and will, find a food approach that will empower you to live the rest of your life with measured success if you stick to it (but that BMR will change as you lose weight, so your “new normal” daily calorie limit will change over time, and you need to periodically check in on it.
4. Don’t “drink” your calories. Almost everything you can name — juice, pop, milk — packs 100 calories + for every 250ml/cup you drink. I’d rather EAT my calories so I feel like I’m getting something from it. Alcohol’s the only caloric thing I’ll drink, as I’m usually a water/black coffee girl. Choices, baby.
Nicely told, and true. The other thing that can help a lot is understanding your physiology and hormones. It amazes me how much people do not want to know about their ow bodies. Not all foods are the same, because they trigger different hormonal responses in your body. The worst of these for weight loss is insulin. Insulin tells your body to store fat, even at the expense of building muscle or making you tired. Simple sugars and processed foods ( especially with High Fructose Corn Syrup) are the worst offenders.
You can eat 100 calories of vegies and fruits, or even 100 calories of steak and your body will respond differently than if you eat 100 calories of sugar.
Getting educated is always the first step toward making any sort of improvement. Congrats to you for your progress, and you inspired me to get back on the wagon again..
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5/4 fat people aren’t good at math. 🙂 Thanks for the ass-kick. Got my fitday account today, and after counting calories all day, I had to resist the urge to bury my f’in face in a MASSIVE burger and embarrass myself.
How bloody accurate your post is. I speak as a former fattie, and it is absolutely about taking responsibility and stop bullshitting oneself.
It’s also having a healthy attitude about it.
I treat myself about once a week to something yummy.
In the end, it’s not crash diets or unrealistic food decisions, but exactly what you wrote: understanding what food is and how it flows through the body.
I’m personally sick of overweight people saying they can’t do it. If you can do it, it is possible.
Invisible Girl! HI, you. Sorry, I thought I approved your comment sooner, but now that you’ve been approved once, you’ll never need moderating again with that email addy. Whups. 🙂 NICE TO SEE YOU.
I’m not sick of people saying they can’t do it, I understand their fear. It’s a hard place to come to, the point when you finally have the power to go there. I understand how it can take so long. Look at me, I’m 35. It makes me sad, makes me want to change their mind. But all I can do is tell my story. It’s in them, or it isn’t.
But, yeah, if I can, they can. Hopefully they figure it the fuck out.
You need your own reality show it would fucking rock.
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Bahahaha. No, it wouldn’t. I’m not very exciting. 🙂 I have a great perspective, a great personality, but I’m ultimately a homebody. Not so interesting. If you could be a fly on my mind’s eye, however, you might have a good time. Good luck widdat. 🙂
thanks for this! i LOVED this post.
i’m going to start counting, even though I’ve failed math about 4,000 times in high school. Now I have a calculator in my bag (take that Mr.McCaw) and take your advice.
high five and cheers to burgers and long walks home!
By the way, people, when I say I’ll have a burger, I’ll buy lean steak, grind it myself, have a whole wheat bun, more mustard than mayo, and try to minimize the damage by at least making better choices as parts of the whole. A burger in my house might still have 600 calories, but it’s a lower-fat cheese, leaner beef (or sometimes turkey, but it just ain’t the same!) and a fibre-full bun.
Thank you. I was directed here because I praised Leo from Zen Habits and his most recent post.
I think I’m going to stay, because you rock!
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I think you’re right. The primary thing that bothers me, actually, is that given how hard it is to be that careful, how much attention it takes, society treats fat people badly and acts as though everyone should be going to that effort. I know what it would take me to lose 70 lbs, having done it and found that I didn’t want to keep living like that. Your description just reminded me of how hellish I find that kind of life. Being honest about what one does and doesn’t want to spend time & attention on: that’s a real kind of responsibility, too. It’s just such a shame that this kind of responsibility is not respected.
Just had someone link me to this, as I’m about to start a workout regimen in the hopes of losing weight too. I don’t want to lose a ton, just 20-25 pounds or so, but the ideas in here are really going to help. Thanks!
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